Rising Star Brewer Basil Lee of Finback Brewery - Biography

Queens, NY

February 2015

If loving what you do is a likely guarantor of success, then it shouldn’t be a big surprise that Basil Lee is flourishing. He doesn’t just love what he does; he drinks it.

An alum of Harvard Graduate School of Design, Lee got his start in beer as many do, home brewing. Working successfully as an architect, Lee home-brewed less as a possible professional endeavor and more as a natural extension of something he enjoyed. He’d been drinking and loving beer (both the basic and rainbow varieties) for as long as he legally could—and maybe a bit beforehand. Brewing just seemed like the natural next step.

But, like future partner Kevin Stafford, Lee found more than a hobby in brewing. And, like Stafford, he realized he was as eager to perfect traditional beer types as a basis from which to break boundaries and play with a wider cabinet of ingredients. That passion would not only drive Lee to leave his career in architecture, it would define his output as the future co-founder of Finback Brewery. Working alongside Stafford, out of a huge space in Glendale, Queens, Lee has transformed his former hobby into a craft output that challenges the best of what New York craft creativity has on tap, earning a 2015 StarChefs Rising Star Brewer Award.